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The Pilgrim’s Way

By Linda Tancs

Arguably one of the best known of England’s pilgrimage routes, Pilgrim’s Way is a journey from Winchester (or alternatively, Southwark) to Canterbury. It’s a well-trodden route, having been walked since 1172 to a shrine of Saint Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered there two years earlier. A typical journey from Winchester Cathedral lasts about 12 days; the Southwark route is shorter. Medieval pilgrims would’ve borne a rough tunic, heavy cloak and a wooden staff along with safe-conduct, written permission from their local priest in an effort to secure safe travel. These days, modern pilgrims can avail themselves of a pilgrim passport from cathedrals on the way as well as from Canterbury Cathedral on receipt of a self-addressed, stamped envelope. As you progress along the route, get at least one stamp in each place you stay. Some churches also have special pilgrim stamps and post a notice telling you who in the locality will stamp your passport.

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